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Mistake #1 – Allowing Boredom to Set In
Boredom is the inability to take responsibility for our own entertainment. For me, it’s about state change. You body and your mind don’t want to feel whatever it is that you’re feeling so our mind or body urges us to eat, drink alcohol, watch TV, do drugs, or other stuff. All that is needed is a change of state but the body and mind will take the path of least resistance to get that change to occur.
The other day, a lady on FaceBook had requested assistance from a group of women to help her find another TV series like Friends. She had just finished watching all 10 seasons (79 hours!) and needed another program that would make her feel good. I really wanted to write in and suggest a good book or exercise or perhaps a university degree. Had she spent the same number of hours educating herself, she would be 3/4 through a 4-year university program! And all she wanted was to feel good. UGH! There’s better ways to change your state than watching back to back episodes of a TV show.
I work with several clients with addictions and allowing boredom to set in is one of the major problems for these people. For example, I’m working with a client who has a problem with binge eating when she gets bored. She’ll eat until she feels sick. Not good! She’s already at the stage where boredom has become a bad habit. Now we are working to change the habit around.
There’s a lot you can do to change your state that leads to more productive behaviours. I’ve written a blog post on how to change someone else’s bad attitude and you can use this same technique I used in the story on yourself. It produces a change in state instantly! Keep reading the next mistake to learn what else you can do…
Mistake #2 – Not Having Something Else to Do
The reason my client sits and eats is because she has nothing else to do. So we came up with a list of 10 alternatives and then she chose 3 of those to focus on. Now, if she’s tempted to start eating, she applies the 10-minute rule and does one of her 3 alternate activities for at least 10 minutes. It’s really hard to overeat when you have put your gym clothes on, gone to the gym, and started walking on the treadmill on an incline. It’s a pain in the butt to stop after just 10-minutes too! Just think of all the effort you put out just to get to the gym in the first place. Might as well finish the workout!
Think about all of the other things you could be doing. Do you have a hobby you can get lost in? Do you have a good book to read? When was the last time you went for a long walk or went and played a sport? Can you join a club? Can you go chat with a friend? What is it that you can do that would lead you away from creating bad habits and towards creating new, good ones?
Finding something else to do is critical! If you find other activities to do when you are bored, bad habits won’t set in.
Mistake #3 – Not Having a Plan
When we don’t have a plan to our lives, our unconscious mind takes over and does what is the easiest thing to do, which is normally the bad behaviour. By having a conscious strategy as to what we are going to do when, then we are giving our brain instructions on how WE want it to happen. And when we stick with our strategies, we get an enormous boost in our self-confidence because we’ve made a promise to ourselves and we’ve kept it. It’s a great feeling! We also practice our self-discipline. Our minds become more familiar with the route to the new strategy and it becomes easier and easier to follow the more times we do it. A habit is formed but it’s a consciously created habit. A habit for good behaviours instead of bad ones.
When my client and I looked at her schedule and what could potentially sabotage her new activities, she realised that her biggest problem was that she normally got really hungry by 4PM. GREAT! Now we need a strategy that gives her a snack and not a binge at 4PM. We chatted through different ways of tackling the problem and found a solution that worked for her and pushed her into her alternative activities. Now she’s testing this new strategy to notice what works and what doesn’t.
If you’re trying to lose weight, maybe the best strategy isn’t to start learning how to cook cakes. Maybe having a strategy that involves dancing, self-defence, or hiking with a group might be better suited to your overall goal. When creating a strategy, do what I did with my client and always check for the areas where there could be sabotage. What could happen that would cause you not to follow through on your new strategy? Would a sick child cause a problem? Would more projects at work cause you to have to rethink your strategy? Would an over-extended credit card bill stop you? Be realistic with what could cause a problem and create a solution before it becomes a problem!
So go have fun Building a Better You!